From the Bournes 
to the Van Buskirks
Mashpees paddling canoes 
to Stand Up Paddle-
boardin’ women
and couples on
a pontoon cruise

pretty waters
run pretty deep
much deeper than 
your line can reach
long lost legends
sunken secrets
stone’s throw from 
that sandy beach
forgot footprints
in shallow water’s shade
where them snapping 
turtles wade

This here’s a song
‘bout Peters Pond
and the campground
along its shores
a simple slice
of paradise
that once was theirs
for now is yours

in the old days
'round the edges
lush with fauna
fish and fawn
wildlife out-
numbered the hunters
about ten 
thousand to one

when the reverend 
Richard Bourne
met with the natives 
long been here
taught em prayers
with naive promises
that faith meant nothin
more to fear

when he made good 
on land promise
passed to him 
five-acre piece
neck of this pond
tranquil and famed
for findin’ eggs
from mother geese

This here’s a song
‘bout Peters Pond
and the campground
along its shores
a simple slice
of paradise
that once was theirs
for now is yours

land changed hands 
a few times over
nothing to note 
much came of it
until the nineteen
seventeen purchase
by ranchers called 
Coonamessett

for each field
they’d need a leader
overseer 
of the work
hired for here
a Nova Scotian
by name of Ernest 
Van Buskirk

and he moved in 
with his lady
and their little 
girl Viola
this was back 
when for a nickel
you could buy 
a Coca Cola
back when few 
could well afford
the cost of Ford 
Model T cars
and even fewer 
thought to escape to
a quiet night 
under the stars

This here’s a song
'bout Peters Pond
and the campground
along its shores
a simple slice
of paradise
that once was theirs
for now is yours

desperate times 
in early thirties
poor old Ernest 
passed away
and amid 
mass unemployment
most were living 
day to day


Ernest’s widow
wise Elizabeth
saw potential
in the plight
renting boats 
and lots to fishermen
anxious for 
big trout to bite


they’d arrive 
in early April
drive from Boston 
night before
ice on tips 
of poles pre-dawn
shivering 
‘long rocky shore

in her boats 
they went out deeper
where the bigger 
dinner’s found
then they’d gather 
round a fire
with bedrolls 
unfurled on ground


in the Summer 
they’d return
hauling whole
family along
trying weekend 
at a time
to feel alright 
in a world gone wrong

This here’s a song
'bout Peters Pond
and the campground
along its shores
a simple slice
of paradise
that once was theirs
for now is yours

young Viola 
aided Elizabeth
each step and struggle
along the way
she had grown 
by now to woman
but beside mother 
she would stay


when she married
Andrew joined ‘em
a Mr. Fix It 
son-in-law
and the place 
born as “Van Buskirk’s”
grew up into 
“Camp DeGraw”

Andy Junior
daughter Barbara
and their families 
took the reins
sold to Morgan
then Sun Outdoors
but still their 
legacy remains
it’s not the managers
but all the visitors    
give the campfires 
here their spark
call it resort 
or retreat
locals still say 
Peters Pond Park

This here’s a song
'bout Peters Pond
and the campground
along its shores
a simple slice
of paradise
that once was theirs
for now is yours


Generations
Generations!
grown on apples 
from these trees
swimmin’ fishin’
no-rain wishin’
lovers lane 
midnight a kissin’
dancin’ to 
DJ’s and guitars 
under same 
sparkling stars
that’ll still light the sky
when their children try
to bottle lightning 
by and by

I’ve seen old men 
close their eyes
lift their chin 
to meet the breeze
smilin’ wistful 
as it brought ‘em
precious misplaced 
memories

surface shimmers 
same as always 
in the daybreak 
bright of dawn
clinks of cheers 
and kids a’ playin
the latest wildlife 
‘round this pond
fresh new footprints
shifting sands
just a stone’s throw 
from that shade
‘neath the trees
by shallow waters 
where still them snapping 
turtles wade

This here’s a song
'bout Peters Pond
and the campground
along its shores
a simple slice
of paradise
that once was theirs
for now is yours

a simple slice

of paradise

that once was theirs

for now is yours

that once was theirs

for now is yours